Early warning systems for more effective student counselling in higher education: Evidence from a Dutch field experiment

Simone Plak*, Ilja Cornelisz, Martijn Meeter, Chris van Klaveren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Early Warning Systems (EWS) in higher education accommodate student counsellors by identifying at-risk students and allow them to intervene in a timely manner to prevent student dropout. This study evaluates an EWS that shares student-specific risk information with student counsellors, which was implemented at a large Dutch university. A randomised field experiment was conducted to estimate the effect of EWS-assisted counselling on first-year student dropout and academic performance. The results show that the EWS accurately predicts at-risk students. Yet, EWSassisted counselling did not reduce dropout, nor improved academic performance. Solving the underlying problem of poor academic performance might require additional actionable feedback and recommended counselling practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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